Republicans Would Rather Red-Staters Die than Pay for Externalities Related to Oil

We’re on our second near-record tornado this year and summer hasn’t even started. Joplin, MO and Birmingham, AL have been especially hard hit, but much of flyover country is set to spend the summer hunkering down to hide from truly horrifying weather.

Yet Eric Cantor wants to hold disaster relief hostage to debt hysteria. (h/t Steve Benen)

The No. 2 House Republican said that if Congress doles out additional money to assist in the aftermath of natural disasters across the country, the spending may need to be offset.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said “if there is support for a supplemental, it would be accompanied by support for having pay-fors to that supplemental.”

The stance is all the more heartless given that most rational people believe there’s a tie between the increasingly volatile weather and climate change. That is, it’s not just that Eric Cantor wants to deprive fly-over country of any government assistance in the face of freak natural disaster, he’s demanding that communities suffering the consequences of climate change also pay the bill to clean up after climate change-caused disaster. He’s asking already-devastated communities to pay for our collective addiction to oil (and coal).

One obvious solution might be to impose a carbon tax at least big enough to pay for such disasters, which are likely to become more and more common.

But these same Republicans that want Joplin to pay the price of getting flattened by tornadoes are also heading in the wrong direction. They want debt reduction, they claim. But they also refuse to cut subsidies to the same carbon industry contributing so much to climate change.

We have enough money, apparently, to keep paying off the most profitable corporations in the world. But not enough to help our neighbors who pay the physical, emotional, and economic price for those corporations’ profits.

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